Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Earlier this week, I promised some posts on new and exciting products I discovered at the Sandbox Summit at MIT. It turns out, the one that grabbed my attention most is actually more “exciting” than “new.” It’s the Double Fine Happy Action Theater game for the Xbox 360 game console, and it was released in February of this year.
Click here to see a video trailer for the game, which allows multiple players to transform their living rooms into balloon clouds, fiery lava fields, or bubbly seascapes. It’s not educational in any traditional sense of the word. It’s just plain fun for the whole family.
At the Sandbox Summit, Microsoft’s educational design director, Alex Games (pronounced GAH-mes), presented the trailer as an example of what can happen when learning is approached through the lens of play. The game is an example of how parents can “co-view” a piece of technology with their children, interacting on every level, and developing skills from physical fitness to quick decision-making.
According to Games, the co-viewing aspect, combined with the fact that the game takes place in a family’s living room, as opposed to in an invented, remote video game world, make it just the type of thing families should look for when choosing how to spend their leisure time…if they want to spend more than just a few minutes together as a family.
“We’ve moved toward really fast-paced, bite sized experiences, very similar to what is happening in social media,” Games said. But when it comes to learning, “there are certain things that it takes time and patience to develop.”
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